Grin and Bearing it

I get that everyone is out to make a buck but what I don’t get is why people need to take advantage to make one.

Case in point: I made a mistake yesterday that I rarely make. I was looking for a very hard to find bearing for a classic 60’s Mustang. I got a couple of leads online and then followed it up with a phone call because when dealing with this type of obscure part, getting a photo and confirmation that they actually have the part in stock, is key. After continually striking out, I hit pay dirt when I was told that someone had a used one. Now a used bearing is not really optimal but sometimes you have no choice. This is where my mistake came into play, I actually uttered those words and thereby revealed my desperation. Shortly after an email arrived with the photo:


It’s hard to tell from this pic but this bearing is about 1” in diameter. The photo came with text: “Used bearing $75”. HUH??!!! Now some of you might be nodding your heads saying, well that’s what it’s worth since there are none, and I guess in a greedy creepy universe you would be right, but not in mine. I deal with old cars all the time and anyone who does knows full well that we aren’t in this just to make money, we’re also preserving the classic beauty of our American vintage car culture. Gouging each other just shouldn’t be in the cards. Well at least I thought we knew that, or I hoped we did, or I’m living in a fantasy (possible) and at least I know.

Sure I could overcharge people all day long since we work on a ton of these classic cars but why would I? We enjoy doing it and we love to see them arrive on a tow truck and then drive back out the door. Many of them not even looking great but still driving good. We treat it like all the rest of our repairs, basing the pricing on labor time and parts cost…period, not adding a premium because it’s special.

The followup to the story…I know you’re dying to know if I bought that bearing.. the answer is NO. I have the best mechanics here and one of them was able to get another old bearing to work…for free.

I guess this is simply just another one of my rants about greed in this industry and again I’ll receive emails about why I’m wrong…fine….have at it.



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About dontgetwrenched

Elayne Kling, owner of a downtown Manhattan auto repair shop for 20 years and recently in Williamsburg, Brooklyn,, has no problem saying what's on her mind. As a woman (and single parent) in this crazy business, Elayne knows the particular ins and outs of the auto repair world. Over the years she's dealt with all kinds of crazy scenarios and her customers run the gamut of celebrities, NYPD, FDNY, churches, missions, to countless NYC dwellers. Elayne's brash, straight-forward NY, "take no crap", honest, in-your-face style has helped her dramatically over the years. Elayne has prided herself for the special care she gives to women who are often mistreated in the auto repair world. Her business model is to treat all of her customers as if they were her friends (many of them end up being just that) and to deal with them honestly. She loves the idea of imparting her wisdom and helping women (and men) learn how to deal with their repair shop and be a more informed customer.
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One Response to Grin and Bearing it

  1. Donna says:

    Oh no! My comment is that I *knew* you weren’t going to go for the ‘shakedown’ and pay the outrageous price. No Way.

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